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Multiple

E.C.I., Venice: cute

“E.C.I.” burglar alarm, Venice • Cute plastic pairing on the tiny church-bound isle of San Giorgio. I’m guessing the green one signals intruders, and the red one fires. • Spotted: Cini […]
E.C.I., Venice: cute

“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

"C&H Alarms" and nameless burglar alarm, Sheffield • Finally, not exactly a multiple, but such a nice pairing it looks deliberate – a fancy new C&H sounder on a charming pink wall, showing up its plain-faced companion on dowdy unpainted bricks, united by the curlicued Myrtles plaque, hovering like some protective Victorian auntie. (I'm wasted here – I should be writing hackneyed romantic fiction, not burglar alarm descriptions.) I found them near Hillsborough Stadium, home to Sheffield Wednesday, on an enforced tour of various football grounds – always fertile ground for burglar alarms too, fortunately. • Spotted: Parkside Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S6, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
“C&H” and nameless alarm, Sheffield: Victorian duo

“ADT”, Hackney: Cyberman piping

"ADT" burglar alarms, Hackney • I spotted these above an art gallery (Hoxton Square's full of them), and though not quite as impressive as the Design Museum's "Daisy" ADTs, it still looks a bit like a crappy art installation. To put it in art-speak, there's a poignant narrative tension in the way the lower ADT has been eternally blocked from joining its elevated companion by the Cyberman-esque piping snuggling round its head. And there's a cubist element in the repeated angles reminiscent of Paul Noble's Nobson Newtown, an immense pencil-drawn metropolis of everyday turd-folk presented in isometric projection (I'm not making this up) ... surely a contender for the Turner Prize next year. OK, that's enough spurious justification of a boring shot of two ADT burglar alarms. • Spotted: Hoxton Square, Hackney, London, N1, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch
“ADT”, Hackney: Cyberman piping

“Alpha”, Manchester: flying ducks

"Alpha" burglar alarms, Manchester • The graphic designer in me enjoys seeing things neatly aligned, and these two random Alphas don't comply, looking like flying ducks missing a third bird. Fledgling burglar alarm engineers should take note: compare them with the preceeding carefully-considered compositions and see how much more pleasing sounders look when placed with architectural precision. • Spotted: Little Peter Street, Manchester, Lancashire, M15, England, 2010 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Manchester Central
“Alpha”, Manchester: flying ducks

“Advanced Integrated Systems”, Bristol: rude name

"Advanced Integrated Systems" burglar alarms, Bristol • It's somewhat hard to see, but there are two tiny black alarms on this geometrical Dutch-inspired office block, carefully aligned between the white globe lights and the roof's twin peaks, and placed in the troughs left by two earlier sounders. Sadly despite its unusual design it's a rather dull building, enlivened only by a rude but amusing graffiti play on its name, Amelia Court. Scroll down for the new, improved Anglo-Saxon version; I won't spell it out, or I'll get loads of spam from dodgy "adult" sites. • Spotted: Pipe Lane, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Advanced Integrated Systems”, Bristol: rude name

“Initial”, Bath: free cheese

"Initial" burglar alarms, Bath • This building is so Bath – it looks as if it's falling apart, but is full of expensive stuff. Arranged like a kitchen sink still-life from the art gallery within, the twin Initial alarms balance the tubs of dying plants beneath, with a scruffy tableau of junk in the top right window adding a final downbeat flourish. I always love Bath for the first day I'm there, then start to hate it in all its small-town, early-closing dullness – the best thing I discovered last time was The Star Inn, an ancient pub that serves real ale and occasional free cheese, albeit mainly to groups of 50-something men discussing Dr Who. • Spotted: George Street, Bath, Avon, BA1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bath  
“Initial”, Bath: free cheese

“AC Leigh”, Norwich: 1970s Habitat chic

"AC Leigh (Security)" burglar alarms, Norwich • Oooh, retro – 1970s Habitat chic comes to Norwich, as modelled by a neat pair of vintage sounders in orange and cream on a stained beige background. I'm guessing the top one's for burglars, the bottom one for fires. • Spotted: Town centre, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1, England, 2007 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Norwich South
“AC Leigh”, Norwich: 1970s Habitat chic

“Ape Fire & Security”, Bristol: watchful simians

"Ape Fire & Security" burglar alarms, Bristol • I've already commented on the oddness of APE's logo, and still don't know what the unfortunate acronym stands for. Anyway, here's a pair of watchful simians hanging from yet another graceful Bristol building – the locals don't seem to have much to do except sling random sounders up all over their beautiful and historic city, which makes it a great hunting ground for me. • Spotted: St Nicholas Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
“Ape Fire & Security”, Bristol: watchful simians

Nameless alarms, Bristol: grand establishment

Nameless burglar alarms, Bristol • This grand old Bristol building houses Thorne Security, who were founded in 1858, so are possibly as old as their establishment. I'm assuming the two mysterious black bell boxes belong to them; however Thorne don't appear to install intruder alarms as part of their extensive security activities, which is perhaps why the sounders are nameless. (They don't deal in sabres either, despite having one in their logo.) • Spotted: Wine Street, Bristol, Avon, BS1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bristol West
Nameless alarms, Bristol: grand establishment

“Securebase”, Hackney: semi-gentrified triplets

"Securebase" burglar alarms, Hackney • Although this heritage-green property in a semi-gentrified road near Hackney's riot central looks like a shop front, from its trio of bell pushes I deduce that the neatly-aligned Securebase triplets relate to three separate properties within. QED. • Spotted: Chatsworth Road, Hackney, London, E5, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington
“Securebase”, Hackney: semi-gentrified triplets

“SDS Security”, Southwark: posh option

"SDS Security" burglar alarms, Southwark • A stormy sky lights up three SDS boxes clad in shiny chrome, which I now know is the expensive option for sounder casings. They're somewhat too posh for the pitted concrete wall, though the combination is reminiscent of installations by many a contemporary artist, eg Turner Prize nominee Martin Boyce. They look too closely spaced to represent the alarms for three different floors, but that's the only explanation I can think of for the arrangement. • Spotted: Wild's Rents, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2011 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“SDS Security”, Southwark: posh option

Nameless alarms, Lambeth: anonymous fortress

Nameless burglar alarms, Lambeth • Whereas yesterday's burglar alarms really were an art installation, these just look like one. They suddenly appeared atop a cute little renovated industrial block near where I live, back in the heady days when people were still redeveloping things and, for some reason, painting them all shiny blue. Given the building resembles a shoebox-sized concrete fortress, with apparently no windows, I'm surprised it needs one alarm, let alone four, though their anonymity at least matches the unit's inscrutable appearance. • Spotted: Carlisle Lane, Lambeth, London, SE1, England, 2006 • Politics: In the Labour constituency of Vauxhall
Nameless alarms, Lambeth: anonymous fortress

“ADT”, Southwark: daisy chain

"ADT" burglar alarms, Southwark • I often find clusters of bell boxes, but they're usually random and mis-matched. However now and then I come across groups of identical sounders arranged into geometrical compositions, which – to use a fine art term – I think of as burglar alarm "multiples". This one takes the biscuit: six plastic daisies with ADT alarms as their centres, dancing across a wide white wall. It was a temporary installation on the side of London's Design Museum in 2005, but I never found out what it was in aid of. I quite liked the mystery, but after 30 seconds on Google I've discovered it was Daisy T from Sweet Dreams Security, "the ADT alarmbox flower attachment [that] transforms your existing alarmbox from dull and dreary to chirpy and cheery". In the mid-noughties the firm, brainchild of ex-graphic designer Matthias Megyeri, made some amazingly cute security products – from a CCTV camera disguised as a cat and butterfly-studded razor wire to teddybear padlocks and heart-shaped chain links (which sounds more like high-end bondage gear than a burglar deterrent). Apparently Megyeri was struck by the bizarre mixture of security and kitsch he saw on London homes, as compared with his native Stuttgart in Germany – especially all the ADT sounders – and set out to combine the two "to change the visual language of security products from depressing to seriously humorous". • Spotted: Shad Thames, Southwark, London, SE1, England, 2005 • Politics: In the Liberal Democrat constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark
“ADT”, Southwark: daisy chain